Training Zones explained …

Now what?

I have tested for FTP. How do I train with a power meter to get more powerful, keeping in mind I am training for endurance events that include considerable climbing?

What are these training zones?

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 4.50.37 PM

Dr. Andy Coggan’s Power Levels

How do I use these training zones?

Given my current FTP (286 watts), here are the power levels I need to train at for each of the training zones.

  1. Active Recovery <55% (157 watts) – after a hard workout. 
  2. Endurance 56-75% (160-215 watts) – where endurance athletes (that would be me) spend most of their time – 60 minutes on the spinning bike averaging ~ 190 watts. Do this 2 times per week.
  3. Tempo 76-90% (217-257 watts) – best done inside on the spinning bike – 3 x 15-20 minute intervals averaging ~ 235 watts with 3-5 minutes easy pedalling between each set. Do this once a week.
  4. Lactate Threshold 91-105% (260-300 watts) best done inside on the spinning – 3 x 15 minute intervals averaging ~ 280 watts with 5 minutes easy spinning between. Do this once  a week.
  5. VO2 Max 120% (343 watts) best done inside once per week on the spinning bike – 6 x 5 minute intervals averaging ~ 343 watts. Do this once a each week.
  6. Anaerobic Capacity 121-150% (346-429 watts) best done inside on the spinning bike – 30+ second intervals.

I am training for endurance events – centuries and the Whistler Gran Fondo. So, what does that look like throughout the week? Something like this with a mixture of intensity levels with a focus on endurance workouts.

  1. Monday – Active Recovery – 60 minutes spinning, averaging ~ 160 watts
  2. TuesdayEndurance – 60 minutes spinning, averaging ~ 190 watts
  3. WednesdayTempo – 3 x 15 minute intervals averaging ~ 235 watts with 3 minutes easy pedalling between each set
  4. ThursdayEndurance – 60 minutes spinning, averaging ~ 190 watts 
  5. Friday – Lactate Threshold OR VO2 Max session
    1. Lactate Threshold -2 x 20 minute intervals averaging ~ 280 watts with 5 minutes easy spinning between
    2. VO2 Max session – 6 x 5 minute intervals averaging ~ 340 watts
  6. Saturday / SundayEndurance ride of 50-75 km depending on the weather or 60 minutes on the spinning bike averaging ~ 190 watts

In the past, I have focused on mileage, averaging 7,000 – 8,000 km a year. That’s a good base. Now, I am going to focus more on the intensity of the workouts, paying particular attention to power, with a mixture of indoor spinning bike and outside road bike workouts.

This week, I’ll acquaint myself with these workouts, and if necessary, make adjustments. During February, while it is still wet and cold, I’ll workout on the spinning bike mostly, maintain this schedule until March 1, 2016, and then re-test my FTP.

What do you think? Can I improve my FTP in 5 weeks with the above workouts?

More reading:

  1. Lactate Threshold 101, Bicycling, April 30, 2010
  2. 8 Week Power Training Plan, Hunter Allen, Peaks Coaching Group
  3. How to Start Training with Power, Training Peaks, July 23, 2015
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4 thoughts on “Training Zones explained …

  1. Will follow with interest as I’ve recently turned to intervals myself. Your Friday session looks heavy and you might want to consider spacing out the big intervals, tempo and threshold to Tues and Thu. The first couple of weeks will be fine, its the third week where fatigue kicks in, at least it did for me. The fourth week was always easier in terms of training load.

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